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Comment Re:DEA already has rescheduled and overruled itsel (Score 1) 145

Actually, their constitutional authority to exist is that the Executive Branch calls them into existence to execute the provisions of laws passed by the Legislative branch.

It took a constitutional amendment to ban alcohol, and that amendment has been repealed. This leaves no authority for any branch of the government to prohibit the manufacture, sale, or use of any drug. Any act of the congress that purports to do so is not a law at all, it is as James Madison would describe it, a usurpation.

-jcr

Comment Re:I am amazed that there is no current limiter (Score 1) 131

There is no cap on the device to be "destroyed" in this case since there is no diode going between a data line and +5v. In fact, the way that the "killer" device is designed the -240v will just be shunted directly to ground through a diode. I'd be more worried if it were +240V since the zener would also be involved.
The caps on the killer device don't hold a lot of charge since they're rated at a minimum of 240V unless they're quite large. With capacitors there's a tradeoff of voltage vs capacity for a given size. I'd argue that the device would be far more destructive if it pumped -12v instead of -240v since it would be able to output a lot more current.

Comment Re: Better up the Military Budget (Score 1) 257

Sure, it will take decades. Fortunately, it will take centuries for the problem to unfold. Millions will do nothing until the water reaches waist-level of course - that's people for you - but you don't have to wait.

Farmland's easy, BTW. The vast majority of what was farmland 100 years ago is forest now. It can be farmland again in a year, and productive the following year. Roundup-ready seed and a fuckton of fertilizer and a self-driving combine, and we're swimming in corn - that's modern farming for you.

Comment Re:Why is this guy still talking (Score 4, Insightful) 351

But WAIT A SECOND, while the pies and baskets have each fallen in value by a factor of ten, a pie is still worth ONE basket. So Abby and Betty can just continue life as before. The robots changed nothing.

The just-so story is pretty, but it's hard to take it seriously as a prediction of the future when it doesn't even predict the past accurately.

If I replace "robots" with "cheap foreign labor", can you explain why so many American manufacturers went out of business (or moved operations abroad) in the last few decades?

According to your theory, American companies should have been able to continue operating just as before ("the foreign workers changed nothing"), because one ton of American steel was still worth exactly one American-made car (or etc). But that isn't what happened, is it? Instead, many people lost their jobs and ended up either unemployed or working at less-desirable unskilled service jobs afterwards, because they were unable to compete with the cheaper/more efficient new foreign producers who didn't need to hire them.

Abby can just switch to making baskets

Can she "just switch"? Does Abby somehow already have the skills to make baskets, or the time and resources to learn those skills to the point where she can perform them at a commercially viable level? Switching to a completely different skill set is not without cost; not everyone can afford to spend months or years without any income while they retrain themselves. That's why so many previously-high-earning people end up "switching down" to something like Walmart cashier after the industry they trained for becomes non-viable.

So the most likely scenario is to put [the "losers"] on some sort of welfare until we can get riot control robots perfected

And here is exactly where the core of the problem lies. As the skill level of available automation rises, the pool of "losers" (i.e. people who aren't sufficiently skilled or adaptable to economically compete with cheap automation) gets larger every year, and eventually includes most (if not all) of the human population.

Dismissing that issue as a negligible corner case is ignoring the problem entirely. The fact that you think "riot control robots" are the endgame suggests that you do also see the problem; you just refuse to label it as a problem because you lack sympathy for "those people".

Comment For the Bank of Russia it's not even pocket change (Score 2) 52

It's just numbers on a spreadsheet. The Bank of Russia is Russia's central bank and there is literally no amount of money you can steal from a central bank that will harm it. That's because they're the people who issue the fiat in "fiat currency".

The harm is to the economy as a whole, in the form of inflation. In this case we're talking about the release of thirty one million spurious extra bucks into a two trillion dollar economy. Just a tiny bit of inflation, diluted to homeopathic concentrations and applied to everyone who uses rubles.

Of course the bank has to pursue this because it undermines confidence in the system, but this is as close to a victimless crime as any illegal way of obtaining thirty-one million dollars can be.

Comment Re:Police searches (Score 3, Informative) 131

Well I could sue the police and retire on the settlement. Its like winning the lottery only with a beatdown thrown in

You haven't been paying attention to the news much, have you? It's very rare that police officers are held accountable for misbehavior; society (for better or worse) gives them a lot of latitude. Police officers literally get away with murder(*) on a regular basis.

(*) or at least, actions that would definitely be called murder if anyone else did the same thing

Comment I find this kind of depressing. (Score 1) 131

I'm all for things that go boom. I love weird, clever little gadgets. I admire a clever and subtle subversion of a system, even when I don't condone its use.

But geez; this thing is not exactly elegant. It uses a fairly basic circuit to exploit the completely unsurprising fact that the interface isn't designed to handle high voltages.

Comment Re:I am amazed that there is no current limiter (Score 2) 131

Actually the schematic I'm looking at uses a Littelfuse SP3011 protection circuit for USB 3 which uses a zener diode. It clamps the voltage to ground and the zener and can handle spikes of 40A and +/- 8KV. The nice thing here is that it protects any spikes from being sent to the power supply.

Comment Re:Not much. I do look at data which may upset you (Score 3, Interesting) 257

Attempting to simplify the crises in Syria by pointing at climate change seriously under states all other factors. Hell, one of your own links (the usda one) clearly shows that Syria has been able to meet its needs IF allowed via imports

The USDA link shows no such thing; it shows Syria eating up its reserves as it fails to import enough wheat to make up the shortfall. Yes, Assad underwrote the price of bread, but there wasn't enough subsidized bread to meet demand, forcing people to buy non-subsidized bread which increased in price six-fold. The net bread expenditure went up by 20% in a country where many people spend half their income on food.

I'm not a reductionist; situations like this have multiple important factors. The Assad/Islamist thing had been simmering for decades -- generations really. Had that situation been different, the climate shock might not have destabilized the country. In point of fact bread prices were an issue throughout the Middle East and a major factor in the Arab Spring. Syria was arguably better positioned than most other Arab countries, but the stress of having 5% of your population displaced on top of the deep and old fault lines broke the country apart.

This is precisely how climate shock is going to work. It won't be like the proverbial frog in a pot of boiling water; it'll be formerly rare occurrences happening more frequently and stressing vulnerable populations. Take sea level rise; cities won't drown slpowly, but what was once a hundred year flood will become twenty year flood. That will stress coastal cities, and the results depend on how stable and wealthy a particular city is.

For example were sea level to rise almost a meter by 2100 (as is now within the scope of mainstream positions), the very wealthy coastal city I live in would go the Venice route and build a tidal barrier, which would conservatively cost at least ten billion dollars. Chittagong Bengladesh, however, will be screwed. My city has twice the GDP of Bengladesh as a whole even though it has 3% of the population.

Comment Send In the Clowns (Score 1) 257

Cue the Global Warming Deniers, Trumpster Divers, Koch-paid commenters and other loons.

Meanwhile, organizations like the US military have to look squarely at the reality of Climate Change and try to protect the country from its consequences...despite the best efforts of the fossil fuel lobbyists and their drooling, willfully ignorant dupes.

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